•It’s pageant without nudity, make-up, organiser says
By Job Osazuwa
WHOEVER thought beauty contest was not meant for Christians should have a rethink. Publisher of Freedom International magazine, Mrs. Esther Esevohare, says there’s nothing wrong in having a beauty contest for Christians.
She told Daily Sun during the final auditioning in Lagos that she initiated the “Esther Beauty Contest”, to change the face of and impression about beauty competitions in Nigeria. The contest is designed for Christian girls, from any denomination, who must not only be attractive but also intellectually gifted, she said. Other criteria are that the contestants must be single, between 18 and 29, slim or plus size and five feet tall and above.
The auditioning in the South West zone, which took place in Lagos, gave the girls the opportunity to prove the stuff they were made of. It started with Bible quiz, assessment of charisma and confidence. One after another, they were drilled on so many other questions, cutting across every facet of life.
At the end of the exercise, four of the 13 contestants were chosen for the next stage. Those who ousted others and scaled through to the grand finale were: Chidinma Ogeui, Bukola Oke, Joy Reginald and Precious Gift. As they were called to the podium and the good news announced to them, they spontaneously went into jubilation, hugging one another. Some of their colleagues, who couldn’t make it to the final, however, displayed the spirit of sportsmanship by congratulating the lucky ones.
According to Esevohare, it was the first national Christian beauty pageant in Nigeria, adding that it took some painstaking efforts to come up with the idea. She said the initiative was non-denominational and inter-denominational.
“From Lagos, we will be moving to Abuja and Asaba in Delta State for other auditioning. The four that emerged today will represent the South West at the main contest, which will come up later in the year. We actually started the auditioning right from the information that participants fill on their application forms. Once we discover any contradictory information about any of them, we automatically disqualified such a person. We need a queen with integrity who will go round the country as an ambassador for other Christian and non-Christian ladies,” she said.
The publisher said the ladies’ physical beauty did not really matter to the panel of judges, but they examined the beauty from inside – that is, fine character. She attributed a lot of problems in the society today to lack of discipline and moral decadence, especially among the youths.
Said she: “We are using this medium to tell the youths that they can be beautiful, disciplined and responsible. We want a queen that will come up with a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which will further preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Most people, especially the youths, are already bored or tired of the gospel being preached in the church. The eventual queen will fill this gap. Beauty pageantry started from the Bible. Queen Esther in the Good Book was able to stand up for her people and promoted different virtues of womanhood.
“We want a queen in our generation that will be able to say no to cultism and other societal ills. We are moulding youths with moral consciousness. This queen should be able to tell her fellow youths that they can be beautiful and be responsible to themselves and the society.
“The beauty display is entirely without nudity. Our final screening for them today was for them to wash off their make-up and reappear before the panel of judges, just as natural as God had created them. This is an uncommon pageant. You must be a Christian to qualify as a contestant.”
Esevohare said it was surprising that most of the entries came from the Northerners. She said the number was overwhelming.
According to her, the government alone cannot right all the wrongs of the country, except with active collaboration by different stakeholders, hence, the birth of Queen Esther Pageant.
The winner, it was revealed, will smile home with N2.5 million, a trip to Israel, a year wardrobe allowance and a car to run around, to preach the gospel, reawaken and promote moral values.
Speaking with Daily Sun at the end of the screening, one of the contestants, Bukola Oke, a graduate from the University of Ibadan (UI), could not hide her joy for being among the four lucky ones. She attributed her success at the main contest to God, saying it is a rare privilege.
She said she applied for the parade when she discovered that there was no space for nudity in the competition.
“I didn’t like pageantry because of the emphasis on nudity. If l discover later that the organisers are introducing anything that will makes me to reveal my body, I will quit the race.”
One of the judges, a filmmaker, Ego Aghedo, said the judges looked out for confidence, composure and charisma in selecting the eventual four. She said any of the ladies was capable of emerging the overall winner at the grand finale.